By all possible means (including technology)

Gregory Boggs is part of the Technology Group at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Neb., and chairs the Nebraska District Technology Committee

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).

Livestreaming to care facilities
“Is there any way that Grandma, who is in the nursing home, can watch her granddaughter’s wedding, or her great-grandson’s confirmation, since she can no longer get to church?” That was how our congregation began livestreaming to care facilities via the Internet. Family members provided their relative with a computer on which to watch services.

Then we started working with the facility management to allow us to stream weekly services on a television in one of the recreation or dining rooms. We provided the facility with a small computer device called a “raspberry pie.” This device was programmed to automatically turn the TV on to the correct channel at the designated time.

The raspberry pie has been replaced with Roku, which is very easy to set up and can be used on almost any TV, since it is operated with a remote control and does not require a computer. It only requires a wired or wireless connection available at the TV used for viewing. Roku devices can be found at many national chain stores, e.g. Wal-Mart, Target, or Best Buy, at a very affordable cost (usually $39 to $49).

Mt. Olive provides the Roku to several care facilities in the area so that they can watch worship in real time, as well as archived services. While the Roku device has over 1500 religious channels, finding our channel is very easy. Simply search for “Lutheran” or “Mt. Olive.”

We find that residents prefer worshiping at the traditional time—Sunday morning. Not only has streaming allowed our members to stay in touch with the church, but it also serves as a passive evangelism tool as other residents join them for worship. As the printing press spread the gospel in Luther’s time, God’s Word is now being spread through technology beyond the walls of our church to viewing sites around the world.

Hearing loops help hearing-impaired
“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). While our broadcasts provide clear audio of our pastor’s teaching and preaching, it can sometimes be a challenge for those listening in the church sanctuary. Many people today are using digital hearing aids. That is why Mt. Olive installed a hearing loop under the carpet in our sanctuary.

In the past, churches have used FM wireless hearing systems with body packs for those needing to hear an amplified signal from the pastor’s microphone. These devices helped, but users had to seek them out and churches had a limited supply. Also, the FM system amplified every sound equally, sometimes worsening the audio quality.

With a hearing loop, those in need of amplified audio already have the listening device built into their hearing aids. The loop simply delivers a usable signal to the T-coil in the listener’s device. Hearing aids made in the last few years have required this feature. Because the hearing aid has been set up by the user’s audiologist for their specific needs, it results in the best possible sound from the pastor’s microphone without background noise.

For more information, contact gboggs@mtolivebroadcast.org.